Take Control of Your Online Privacy

We’ve accepted the Internet into our lives so easily.  Everything is online now, we use it every day, so it’s important to understand what we’re getting into.

Social media is a great tool for staying connected, but because those sites are all about sharing, it can be tricky to strike the right balance of privacy and openness.  The most important thing to remember is that if another person shares something you posted, it is immediately out of your hands.  You can delete your own post, but not someone else’s.  Because of this, information posted on social networks almost never goes away.  Choose your privacy settings carefully, as they determine who can see and share your posts.  And, of course, think twice before you post anything – make sure you’re ok with it being around forever, just in case.

Nothing on the Internet is really free to use.  Search engines and social networks may not charge you any money, but they have to make a profit, and they do so by collecting information about your online activity.  Don’t worry, these sites don’t collect information about your identity or banking details.  They only note public activity: keywords you search for, links you click on, information you post on public profiles or status updates, sites you visit, and your computer’s Internet address, which narrows down your location.  This is usually used for targeted advertising, which is why you may see advertisements for a product or service you’ve searched for previously on another site.

If you’re concerned about websites collecting your information, you have a few options.  Read the site’s privacy policy, which will spell out what they will or won’t collect, and what they will or won’t do with it.  If you can wade through the legal language, this can ease a lot of worry.  Clearing your browser history regularly can help, too, by deleting cookies (bits of information that let a website recognize your computer, usually used for sites you visit frequently).  Most browsers now have a “private” mode, which deletes that information for you, but don’t rely on that to keep all your data safe.  There are also private search engines that get their funding from donations or non-targeted ads, which don’t collect any information on your activity.

If you’re looking for affordable high speed Internet service, contact us.